September 12, 2016

Corsair Grainiac

The ongoing expansion of distilleries across the country has become a catalyst for some imaginative products. From aging in different types of wood to flavoring additives, the variables are extensive. But, when it comes right down to it, perhaps the most telling part of the creation process is what goes into the grain mash from which all else emerges.

The Corsair distillery in Nashville, TN, has an eye-catcher, and one with a pleasing flavor. Founders/owners Darek Bell and Andrew Webber, who have grown from homemade brewers and distillers and also operate a fulltime brewery, have created a very wide range of products, some of them in regular production, others seasonally or on an experimental basis. One of particular interest is a pot still-distilled bourbon they call Corsair Grainiac.

The product, bottled at 47% abv (94 proof), carries no age statement. Instead of the somewhat standard mash bill composed of corn, rye, wheat and barley, they have added five other grains -- oats, quinoa, spelt, triticale, and buckwheat.

Corn still dominates because, by federal law, bourbon must be made from a mash containing at least 51% corn, but the additional unusual grains were specifically chosen to differentiate this spirit from competitors' products. The partners say they added the grains to achieve more flavor complexity. It works.

Besides the complex range of layered flavors one would expect from such a concoction, there is a certain nutty flavor from the quinoa and spelt -- maybe even from the triticale, but I can't vouch for that since I couldn't recognize triticale if it were labeled and the chef told me what it was.

Corsair Grainiac, bottled at 47% abv (94 proof), carries a suggested retail price of $49.99. 

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